CONFERENCE

PERSPECTIVES ON THE COMMONS, COUNTER-MONUMENTALITY AND THE DECOLONISATION OF LIBERTY

Perspectives sur le commun, la contre-monumentalité et la décolonisation de la liberté

25 SEPT. 2015
10:00 – 20:00
Université du Québec en Outaouais
Pavillon Brault, salle A0200 (entrée porte 11)
101, rue Saint-Jean-Bosco, Gatineau

ACCÈS : plan extérieur et intérieur

Free / Gratuit

Yevgeniy Fiks, Toward a Portfolio of Woodcuts (Harry Hay), 2013

Yevgeniy Fiks, Toward a Portfolio of Woodcuts (Harry Hay), 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In troubling the charged opposition between communism and capitalism, Entrepreneurs du commun seeks to pay tribute to the victims of liberty while rethinking the notion of a commons. The goal of this symposium is to question the ideological instrumentalization of liberty by resituating it in the neoliberal context, Western imperialism and Canadian colonial history. “Nazism, Marxist-Leninism, today, terrorism – they all have one thing in common: the destruction, the end of human liberty,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated during a Tribute to Liberty dinner evening. The obsession with security that underlies this unsound interpretation functions like an incantation to ward off the exploration of other progressive and radical political avenues.

Faced with this plethora of gross historical confusions and ideological simplifications, we propose to open a space for in-depth and convivial reflection and to discuss the issues raised as part of the controversy surrounding the monument’s construction. The symposium is structured by three blocks: 1. The Transindividual and the Question of the Commons; 2. Post-communist Monumentality; 3. Decolonizing (Canadian) Liberty. At the crossroads of the various conceptual, aesthetic and political approaches that will be mobilized as part of this conference day, we hope the encounter will prompt renewed collective thought around the impact of commemorative actions and their relationship to contemporary conceptions of the commons.

Prenant à contre-pied l’opposition piégée entre communisme et capitalisme, Entrepreneurs du commun veut rendre hommage aux victimes de la liberté tout en contribuant à une pensée du commun. Le colloque s’inscrit dans cette visée. Il a pour objectif premier de remettre en question l’instrumentalisation idéologique du concept de liberté, en le resituant dans le contexte du néo-libéralisme, de l’impérialisme occidental et de l’histoire coloniale du Canada. « Nazisme, marxisme-léninisme, aujourd’hui, terrorisme – ils ont tous un point commun : la destruction, la fin de la liberté humaine », affirmait le premier ministre Stephen Harper lors d’un dîner d’Hommage à la liberté. L’obsession sécuritaire qui préside à cette condensation bancale fonctionne comme une sorte de mantra conjuratoire qui discrédite d’entrée de jeu l’exploration d’autres voies politiques à la fois progressistes et radicales.

Face à tant de confusion historique et de grossières simplifications idéologiques, nous proposons d’ouvrir un espace de réflexion soutenu et convivial afin de discuter des nombreux enjeux soulevés dans le cadre de la controverse entourant la construction du monument. La journée s’articulera autour de trois axes : 1. Le transindividuel et la question du commun ; 2. Monumentalité post-communiste; 3. Décoloniser la liberté (canadienne). Au confluent des différentes approches conceptuelles, esthétiques et politiques qui seront mobilisées dans le cadre de cette journée d’étude, nous espérons que cette rencontre sera propice à une pensée collective renouvelée autour de la portée des actes commémoratifs et de leur rapport à l’imaginaire contemporain du commun.

Coordination :
Erik Bordeleau, Nathalie Casemajor pour Entrepreneurs du commun.
Avec la collaboration de Dalie Giroux, Peter Hodgins, Mélanie Boucher, François Lemieux.
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PROGRAMME

Introduction

PANEL 1 – LA TRANSINDIVIDUALITÉ ET LE COMMUN
> Frédéric Neyrat, « Prologue au communisme planétaire »
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Comparative Literature
> Erik Bordeleau, « Prises et entre-prises du commun »
SenseLab, Université Concordia
Discutant : Émilie Bernier
Université d’Ottawa, Département de sciences politiques

PANEL 2 – POST/COMMUNIST MONUMENTALITY
> Yevgeniy Fiks, « Monument to Cold War Victory »
Artist
> Maria Silina, « (Cold)War and (Anti)Communist Agenda in Canadian and Russian Contemporary Public Art »
UQAM, Département d’histoire de l’art
Discutant : Peter Hodgins
Carleton University, Département d’études canadiennes

PANEL 3 – DECOLONIZING (CANADIAN) FREEDOM – ROUND TABLE
> Darren O’Toole (Ottawa University, Faculty of Law)
> Stacy Douglas (Carleton University, Department of Law and Legal Studies)
Discutant : Dalie Giroux
Université d’Ottawa, Département de sciences politiques

PANEL 4 – TABLE RONDE AVEC LES ARTISTES DE L’EXPOSITION MONUMENTS AUX VICTIMES DE LA LIBERTE


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With the support of the Quebec Research Fund on Society and Culture, the Groupe de recherche sur les imaginaires en Amérique latine (GRIPAL) and the University of Ottawa School of political studies / Avec le soutien du Fonds de recherche québécois sur la société et la culture, du Groupe de recherche sur les imaginaires en Amérique latine (GRIPAL) et de l’École d’études politiques de l’Université d’Ottawa.
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Émilie Bernier
Université d’Ottawa

Émilie Bernier teaches political theory as a sessional instructor at the University of Ottawa and the Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO). She recieved a Ph.D of political science from the University of Ottawa in 2014. Her research has contributed to a reflection on ethical subjectivation within post-Fordist accumulation, from a perspective influenced by both Marxist studies and Existentialist/Phenomenological tradition. She is a member of Les Cahiers de l’idiotie editorial board and has recently offered contributions to political studies journals, such as Politique et Sociétés, Les Cahiers des Imaginaire, and to a great many academic activities.

Émilie Bernier enseigne la théorie politique à l’Université d’Ottawa et à l’Université du Québec en Outaouais à titre de chargée de cours. Elle a obtenu un doctorat en science politique de l’Université d’Ottawa en 2014. Puisant dans les études marxiennes et la tradition existentialiste/phénoménologique, ses recherches visent à penser une subjectivation éthique au cœur du mode d’accumulation post-fordiste. Elle est membre du comité de rédaction des Cahiers de l’idiotie et a offert, récemment, des contributions aux revues Politique et Sociétés, Les Cahiers des Imaginaires, ainsi qu’à de nombreuses activités académiques.

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Erik Bordeleau
Senselab, Concordia

Title: Taking and under-taking the commons

The commons are usually intended as what resist the capture and appropriation made by private capitalist interests.Why then the name ofthe collective we formed in reaction to the construction by the federal government of a monument in honor of the victims of communism involves the dubious and potentially polemical word of entrepreneur? Amongst politico-philosophical reasons and our taste for the freeing use of practical paradoxes that animate our collective endeavour, this presentation will be an occasion to remember this precious bushism: « the problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur ».

Erik Bordeleau is researcher at the SenseLab (Concordia University, Montreal). He is the author of Foucault anonymat (Le Quartanier, 2012, Spirale Eva-Legrand 2013 award) and of Comment sauver le commun du communisme? (Le Quartanier, 2014). He is a member of the collective Entrepreneurs du commun.

Titre : Prises et entre-prises du commun 

Le commun est généralement entendu comme ce qui résiste aux captures et appropriations par des intérêts privés. Pourquoi dès lors le nom de notre collectif, qui s’est formé en réaction à l’érection par le gouvernement fédéral d’un monument en l’honneur des victimes du communisme, comporte-t-il le mot potentiellement polémique et chargé d’opprobre d’entrepreneur? Entre raisons politico-philosophiques et notre goût du paradoxe délié et pratique, cette présentation d’éléments de réflexion animant notre collectif sera l’occasion de nous remémorer ce délicieux bushisme : « the problem with the french is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur. »

Érik Bordeleau est chercheur au SenseLab (Université Concordia). Il est l’auteur de Foucault anonymat (Le Quartanier, 2012, récipiendaire du prix Spirale Eva-Legrand 2013) et de Comment sauver le commun du communisme? (Le Quartanier, 2014). Il est membre du collectif Entrepreneurs du commun.

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Stacy Douglas
Carleton University

Stacy Douglas is Assistant Professor of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. Former Co-Director of the Centre for Law, Gender, and Sexuality at Kent Law School, as well as Editorial Board member of Feminist Legal Studies and feminists@law, she has published academic and political commentary in Law and Critique; Law, Culture & the Humanities; Theory & Event; Radical Philosophy; Australian Feminist Law Journal; Canadian Dimension; and Truthout, and recently co-edited a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society on law and decolonization. She is winner of the 2014 Julien Mezey dissertation prize from the Association for Law, Culture, and the Humanities.

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Yevgeniy Fiks
Artiste

Title: Monument to Cold War Victory

Yevgeniy Fiks will discuss his conceptual project Monument to Cold War Victory, which he organized with curator Stamatina Gregory. The project takes the form of an open-call, international competition for a public, commemorative work of art. Recent geopolitical events, including civil war in Syria, the Edward Snowden affair, LGBT rights in Russia, and the unfolding military conflict in Eastern Ukraine reveal the legacy of the historical Cold War as unstable and unresolved. By invoking the enduring genre of war monuments, memorials, and publicly commissioned artworks, this project invites a provocative re-engagement of those forms. How might the legacy of the Cold War, in all its complex—and often invisible—material, social, and cultural forms, be visually articulated? In what ways might the notion of “victory,” implicit in all retroactive commemorations (and historical revisions) of conflict, be interpreted?

Yevgeniy Fiks was born in Moscow in 1972 and has been living and working in New York since 1994. Fiks has produced many projects on the subject of the Post-Soviet dialog in the West. Fiks’ work has been shown internationally. This includes exhibitions in the United States at Winkleman and Postmasters galleries (both in New York) Mass MoCA, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and Marat Guelman Gallery in Moscow; Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico City, and the Museu Colecção Berardo in Lisbon. His work has been included in the Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (2015), Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2011), and Biennale of Sydney (2008).

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Dalie Giroux
Université d’Ottawa

Dalie Giroux is professor of modern/contemporary political thought in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa since 2003. Member of the editorial board for Les Cahiers de l’idiotie, her recent publications include: Arts performatifs et spectaculaires des premières nations de l’est du Canada (with Jerome Dubois, L’Harmattan, 2014), and Ceci n’est pas une idée politique. Approches à l’étude des idées politiques (with Dimitrios Karmis, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2013).

Dalie Giroux enseigne la pensée politique moderne et contemporaine à l’École d’études politiques de l’Université d’Ottawa depuis 2003. Membre du comité de rédaction des Cahiers de l’idiotie, elle a publié récemment, avec Jérôme Dubois, Arts performatifs et spectaculaires des premières nations de l’est du Canada (L’Harmattan, 2014), et, avec Dimitrios Karmis, Ceci n’est pas une idée politique. Approches à l’étude des idées politiques (Presses de l’Université Laval, 2013).

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Peter Hodgins
Carleton University

Peter Hodgins is an Associate Professor and currently the Director of the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University. Prior to that, he taught in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa. His research has primarily focussed on the politics, poetics and pragmatics of public memory in Canada. He is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on the subject and the co-editor of a book titled Settling and Unsettling Memories: essays in Canadian public history.

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Frédéric Neyrat
University of Madison­-Wisconsin

Title: Prologue to planetary communism

Under what conditions would it be today possible to use the word communism to designate a politics able to be fair, that is to say capable of responding to environmental devastation, social inequality, and racism? To begin we might plunge the word “communism” into the adjective “planetary.” As a vanishing mediator establishing its own disappearance, a planetary communism would require the conspiracy of the struggling forms of life beyond their restricted identities. If a planetary communism, in the words of Bataille, formed a world where human life would no longer be « the head and reason of the universe, » it would mean that life would take a whole new meaning. I will explore, in the manner of a prologue, the political meaning of this change.

Frédéric Neyrat was born in 1968. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and was a former program director at the Collège International de Philosophie. A member of the editorial board of several journals (Mulitudes, Lignes, exemple), he is an assistant professor in the department of Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA). He is particularly interested in political ecology, as well as in contemporary theory. He is currently in the process of constituting what he designates as a “new existentialism.” He recently published Atopies. Manifeste pour la philosophie (nous, 2014), Le communisme existentiel de Jean-Luc Nancy (Lignes, 2013), and Clinamen. Flux, absolu et loi spirale (Éditions e®e, 2011).

Titre : Prologue au communisme planétaire

À quelles conditions serait-il aujourd’hui possible d’utiliser le mot de communisme afin de désigner une politique capable d’être juste, c’est-à-dire apte à répondre aux ravages environnementaux, à l’inégalité sociale, et au racisme ? En précipitant le substantif communisme dans le prédicat planétaire. Planétaire serait le communisme qui, tel un médiateur évanouissant instaurant son propre dépérissement, obligerait entretemps à la conspiration des formes de vie en lutte au-delà de leurs identités restreintes. Si le communisme planétaire, pour reprendre les termes de Bataille, formait un monde où la vie humaine ne servirait plus « de tête et de raison à l’univers », c’est que la vie, alors, prendrait un tout autre sens. J’explorerai, à la manière d’un prologue, le sens politique de ce changement.

Frédéric Neyrat est né en 1968. Docteur en philosophie, ancien directeur de programme au Collège International de Philosophie, il est membre du comité de rédaction de plusieurs revues (Multitudes, Lignes, exemple). Il est professeur assistant dans le département de Littérature Comparée de l’Université de Wisconsin-Madison (USA). Il s’intéresse en particulier à l’écologie politique, ainsi qu’à la théorie contemporaine, et tente de constituer ce qu’il nomme un « nouvel existentialisme ». Il a récemment publié Atopies. Manifeste pour la philosophie (nous, 2014), Le communisme existentiel de Jean-Luc Nancy (Lignes, 2013), et Clinamen. Flux, absolu et loi spirale (Éditions e®e, 2011).

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Darren O’Toole
Université d’Ottawa

Darren O’Toole is a law professor at the University of Ottawa. He is a Wiisaakodewinini (Bois-Brûlé) who traces his roots to the Métis bison hunters of the White Horse Plains in Manitoba. His research has focused on the 19th century political discourse of the Métis of Manitoba and on ‘Aboriginal law’ – or colonial legal regimes that apply to Indigenous peoples. His recent research focuses on the specific legal order of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) people. He has notably published in both English and French in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, the Canadian Journal of Native Studies, the International Journal of Canadian Studies, the Ottawa Law Review, Manitoba History and the Alberta Law Review.

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Maria Silina
UQAM

Title: (Cold)War and (Anti)Communist Agenda in Canadian and Russian Contemporary Public Art

In 2014 Steven Harper’s government proposed two public art projects that have already become sources of debates among art critics, as well as architectural and heritage experts. One is the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, destined to occupy a prime site in Ottawa. The second is no less ambitious – the Never Forgotten National Memorial (Mother Canada), planned to be erected in Green Cove on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. Both initiatives undoubtedly touch upon Cold War lexicon (1947-1991), i.e. Communism-Liberty-Capitalism agenda and War monument symbolism, as well as postmodernist/eclectic iconography of victim images, abstract art, and figurative allegories popular back to 19 century. These Canadian governmental supported projects are strikingly reminiscent of similar 2014-2015 public art initiatives of Russian authorities, the longstanding ideological vis-à-vis of North America and Europe during the Cold War. A common source for these Canadian and Russian initiatives is evident: international war conflicts in Europe, the re-launching of a Power politics lexicon that implies metaphors as “core values,” national dignity, and other overtly conservative overtones which are emphasized by the giant scale of the monuments and their prominent position in public space.[…] In the presentation I will analyze contemporary ways of re-configuring anti-communist agenda and Cold War rhetoric in a Canadian-Russian context. This will provide arguments to consider populist tactics of those in power who manipulate a community’s opinion using highly recognized symbols, as well as to discuss the role of experts and local communities in critical rethinking of the established art historical narratives.

Silina Maria, PhD, is currently holding Banting post doctoral position at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She has been studying history of Soviet public art and early Marxist aesthetics since 2011 in Moscow Institute for Theory and History of Visual Arts. She is author of the monograph History and ideology: Architectural Sculpture of the 1920-30s (2014), funded by the Russian State Scientific Foundation. Recently she took part in the Canadian Association of Slavists conference 2015 in Ottawa; co-organized an UAAC –AAUC 2015 panel “Public Art Sustainability: Conservation, Appropriation and Recycling” with Prof. Dr. Annie Gérin (UQAM); she is invited speaker at the International Conference “Sites of Memory of Socialism and Communism in Europe” in Bern, Switzerland this September.

Maria Silina a obtenu PhD dans l’histoire de l’art en 2011 à Moscou. Après ça elle a travaillé comme la chercheuse à l’Institut de recherche pour la théorie et l’histoire des arts visuels de l’Académie des arts Russes. Pendant ce temps elle a écrit le livre Histoire et Idéologie: Sculpture architecturale des années 1920-1930 en 2014. Depuis 2014 elle est la Banting boursière postdoctorale à l’UQAM au département de l’histoire de l’art à Montréal. Ses intérêts professionnels sont théorie et histoire de l’art public internationale, l’art soviétique et communiste, la philosophie de l’art et l’esthétique Marxiste. Elle participe régulier à des activités académiques et éducatifs en Amérique du Nord et en Europe.